NEWS ANALYSIS: LONG-TERM SOLUTION NEEDED AFTER MOSUL VICTORY TO TACKLE TERRORISM, CONFLICT
Last Updated: 2017-07-12
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BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 12 (NNN-XINHUA) - Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, announced a victory of military operations to liberate Mosul, three years after the Daesh group seized the city and built a so-called caliphate, spreading extremism and chaos to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, a London-based monitoring group, said that, Daesh leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed. The death of al-Baghdadi would be the latest in a string of fatal blows, dealt to the terrorist group.

The extremists captured Mosul, the second biggest city in the country, in weeks, in 2014, while the joint forces retook it after a nine-month campaign, which has left thousands killed, much of the city ruined and almost one million people displaced.

However, the reconciliation may take even more time as sectarian conflicts in Iraq, the civil war in neighbouring Syria, and political struggle in the region created ungoverned spaces which is an ideal breeding ground for terrorism.

"After the group lost Mosul and Raqqa, it will pursue a different kind of warfare. They will depend on their bomb makers, suicide car bombs and explosive vests, which are very effective and really make the enemy afraid," Iraqi army officer, Major Abdullah al-Jubouri, said.

The establishment of the so-called caliphate by al-Baghdadi in 2014 opened a Pandora's box, spreading extremist ideologies worldwide, which led to increasing terrorist attacks in several countries.

After the landmark victory in Mosul, the Iraqi government and its U.S.-led coalition against the Daesh feared that instability in the region could give birth to "Daesh 2.0."

However, many observers said "Daesh 2.0" was created after extremists in South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in 2014, making the Daesh the second terrorist group after al-Qaeda in recent decades with ability to launch attacks across the world.

They said, despite a disastrous defeat in Mosul or even the death of al-Baghdadi, the Daesh group could extend its global reach.

For example, the al-Qaeda group became even more active after its leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. forces in 2011. Its branch in Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, seized almost the whole Abyan province in Mar, 2011, and declared it an Emirate. It also attacked French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in Jan, 2015, killing 11 people.

Sometimes, the attacks were carried out by terrorists of the Daesh group, or by individuals who are inspired by jihad, according to Daesh ideologies, Jubouri said.

"The individuals affected by jihad are very dangerous and difficult to identify. There is no group decision-making process, so they are basically free to take actions," he said.

"Some of the deadly attacks in the West were planned in Europe or in America...They were not asking for instructions," Jubouri said.

"In fact, the group's operational technique aimed at giving the Daesh networks and self-motivated individuals tools and techniques to act independently," he added.

Since the military campaign to retake Mosul began on Oct 17, 2016, some 920,000 civilians had fled their homes, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said.

Although the Iraqi government promised a safe and dignified return, nearly 700,000 people are still displaced. They said they are tired of sectarian conflicts, and called for a lasting peace among the Shiite and Sunni Arabs, the Kurds and other minorities.

However, concerns of power struggle are rising. The liberation of Mosul and an imminent win in Raqqa involved a variety of forces from regional and world powers, in addition to armed groups, which are bitterly at odds. Despite that, they consider the Daesh group as an enemy, most of them are hostile to each other.

"The Daesh group created profound wounds in society, which means the situation in post-Daesh era will not be rosy," Iraqi political analyst, Ibrahim al-Ameri, said.

"There would be a power struggle among the Iraqi factions, including the Shiite-dominated government, Kurds and Sunni Arabs. They will claim the lands they seized in the past three years from the Daesh, which risks bringing them into conflicts," he said.

Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan has declared to hold a referendum on independence in Sept, a move opposed by Iraq's central government, Turkey, Iran and Syria, which believe it threatens their territorial integrity, as most of the 30 million Kurds in the Middle East live in the four countries.

Meanwhile, the United States has been arming the Kurdish forces in Syria, which angered its Nato ally Turkey, as Ankara believed the Kurdish forces are linked to separatists in its country.

"There is an unfortunate option. We may have a war of all against all, a very unstable situation and continued state crisis. All concerned player fight against each other... a fighting inside the Arab world, and also between the Arab world and outside powers, would engage external players, which are trying to make tactical gains," Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, said, at a forum held in Beijing.

"It (intervention) will do damage to the long-term solutions. It is the worst possible scenario but unfortunately very likely. If we do not act now, in a couple of years, I think this scenario will become likely," Kortunov said.

"The best solution to me, which you may consider unrealistic at this stage, is to develop a collective security system with enforcement mechanism. Something that is guaranteed by the United Nations Security Council, with mechanism of sanctions in place...I understand it is difficult, but I don't think there is a better solution," he added.

The Iraqi government, the international coalition and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, have the duty to pursue long-term engagement strategy with a greater focus on national reconciliation that could consolidate peace among Iraqi factions, Ameri said.

"What is often missed from the picture is that, we cannot separate issues of security and issues of development... You can fix something, but if the unemployment rate is as high as it is right now, among the younger generation...the low level of urbanisation...our attempts to fight terrorism will not have lasting impact. It is only temporary," Kortunov said.-- NNN-XINHUA